Reptile poop is so fascinating because it can reveal so much about our cold-blooded pets. Depending on its appearance, consistency, and frequency, we can tell whether there’s something wrong with our Royals or if they’re perfectly happy. Here’s how.
Understanding How Ball Pythons Poop
A ball python’s pooping process is pretty similar to what other animals do. The snake gets hungry, it munches on some delicious food, which then passes through the digestive tract. Once all the nutrients are absorbed, the snake excretes the remnants. Sounds pretty straightforward, right?
Well, the biggest difference between ball pythons, and reptiles in general, is that they eliminate poop, and pee from an opening called the cloaca, and not the urethra or anus.
The Poop Frequency
Another thing that all snake-owners should know is that reptiles don’t start expelling their waste until they’ve completely digested it. So depending on how big their meal was, their poop frequency may vary, and shouldn’t cause a lot of concern.
Also, instead of making a few tiny deposits, snakes will have a single big one, and go on about their day. With that said, the process can last anywhere from a couple of days to weeks.
The first sign that something’s wrong with our ball python is if it poops a few times in between meals. That means that it might be experiencing diarrhea or is sick.
What Exactly Does Healthy Poop Look Like?
Those who had their pet pythons for a while will already know what healthy poop looks like. But we wanted to go over it one more time, just in case. “Normal” python poop tends to be brown or black, sometimes with a chalky white part, and with small amounts of mucous.
On the other hand, unhealthy poop is easy to spot because it can be green, yellow, red, or white. The best course of action when we spot any irregularities is to collect a sample right away and take it to an exotic animal vet. They should test it for parasites and disease, and we’ll have an answer pretty quickly.
When Should We Be Worried?
In addition to a change of color, another telltale sign that something’s wrong is when our precious python has been constipated and hasn’t regurgitated in a while. If left unchecked, that can lead to impaction, which is a serious medical condition and requires intervention.
A dead giveaway that a snake is struggling with impaction is if it’s feeling sluggish and weak. At that point, there’s no time to waste, and the python needs to see a vet.
But before we jump the gun, there are some things we can do to help with constipation/regurgitation. For one, we need to start giving our snake smaller prey, soak their food, and offer more water. We can also increase the humidity and change their substrate.
The Bottom Line on Ball Python Poop
Honestly, we’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to ball pythons and the things that come out of them. But our general advice for all reptile-lovers is to go see a vet if they’re concerned.
If the snake’s poop is a strange color or it hasn’t pooped in a long while, the best person to determine what’s wrong is a professional. It’s just up to us to keep on top of the situation, and always be on the lookout for signs of trouble.